Photos by DeLayne Ripplinger. Article by Kyle Cottam / USU Athletic Media Relations
LOGAN, Utah – Utah State women’s volleyball struggled with consistency, winning sets one and three, but ultimately falling in five sets to UNLV on Saturday. The loss drops the Aggies to 4-14 on the year and 0-4 in the Mountain West, while the Rebels moved to 9-6 overall and 2-1 in league play.
“We just need to maintain our consistency,” head coach Grayson DuBose said after the match. “We just are not getting enough kills and committing too many errors. It really isn’t splitting atoms, when we just need to hit the ball better.”
Utah State started the match well, opening the contest with a 4-1 run, including kills by sophomore middle Hannah Smith and junior outside Kaylie Kamalu. UNLV came back to within one, 10-9, but a four-point counter by the Aggies gave the home side a 14-9 lead, punctuated by an ace by sophomore outside Rachel Gale. Utah State wrapped up the frame 25-20 behind a Kamalu kill, going up 1-0.
USU was out of sync in the second set, hitting .000 (8-8-29) while UNLV hit a match-high .500 (16-3-26). The discrepancy allowed the Rebels to roll to a 25-13 victory, closing out the set on a six-point run.
Utah State bounced back in the third set and opened the frame with a 3-1 run, capped by a block by freshman middle Lauren O’Brien and sophomore right side Kayla DeCoursey. UNLV answered with a three-point run of its own to take a 4-3 lead and maintained the advantage through 12-10. The Aggies then made a run, scoring six unanswered points behind kills by DeCoursey and sophomore middle Carly Lenzen to take a 16-12 lead. Utah State captured its first set point at 24-21, but UNLV came back to tie the match at 24-24. The Aggies retained their composure and collected back-to-back points at 25-25 to take the set, 27-25, to go up 2-1.
Utah State encountered another lull in the fourth set, falling behind 7-1. The Aggies didn’t ever break out of their funk in the frame, but did fight off one set point before ultimately falling 25-14.
The teams then moved to a deciding fifth set, where Utah State had been undefeated on the year, posting a victory over Utah Valley on Sept. 15, in its only five-set match this season. However, the Aggies suffered another slow start, falling behind 4-0. USU fought back to within one, 7-6, but the attack stalled and the Aggies sided out each of their final four service rotations, falling 15-9.
Kamalu led Utah State with 14 kills, while the Aggies hit .127 (52-31-166) during the match. Junior setter Erica Moscoso and freshman setter Kassidy Johnson recorded 22 and 21 assists, respectively, while directing the attack. Junior libero Hannah Gleason tallied 23 digs to lead the team, marking the fifth time this season that she recorded 20 or more digs. Gale also recorded double-digit digs, logging a career-high 16.
UNLV’s attack was led by junior outside Sadie Stutzman with 17 kills, while the Rebels hit .250 (70-27-172) during the match. Stutzman was one of four Rebels with a double-double – Ceannia Kincade (15 kills, 12 digs), Alexis Patterson (52 assists, 14 digs), Stutzman (17 kills, 13 digs), Alyssa Wing (14 kills, 13 digs) – as UNLV only played with eight, including redshirt freshman outside Caitlin Wernentin who only appeared in one set as a substitute.
“We did do a good job with serve receive today,” DuBose said, looking at the positives of the match. “I thought with did a fabulous job of passing the ball, and Hannah (Gleason) was really good for us over a period of time. The passing really gave us a lot of chances and we need make sure to take advantage of those chances.”
Utah State will host two more Mountain West matches at home next week, welcoming Boise State on Tuesday, Oct. 6, and San José State on Saturday, Oct. 10. Both matches are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
Fans can purchase tickets for the 2015 season by contacting the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305.
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